Wednesday, October 12, 2011

US FDA, multilaterals team up for product safety

From the time you take your morning vitamin until you brush your teeth at night, U.S. consumers use many products imported from other countries. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 40% of fresh produce are imported into the United States. Sometimes products may contain only one ingredient or component part from another country, while other times the entire product may come from one or many countries.

Because the neighborhood grocery and corner drug store are now global marketplaces, the FDA ensures the safety and effectiveness of products sold domestically by working through multilateral organizations to improve cooperation and collaboration with other countries. Multilateral organizations are groups of more than two countries banded together to work on specific issues. Participation in these groups offers the FDA opportunities to expand reach and increase knowledge.

The FDA is working with three multilateral organizations on projects that aim to improve food safety, as well as the safety of medical products for people and animals. FDA's partners are:

• World Health Organization (WHO)—The FDA has given WHO nearly $400,000 to help develop a plan for a global information system to make it easier to share information on food safety problems, including contamination that leads to a product recall.
• Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)—The FDA, through a $904,000 award, is helping PAHO develop an information hub for the Americas through which countries in the region can share data, standards, and guidelines for regulators. FDA has also worked with PAHO to establish technical standards for drugs and biologics in the Americas.
• World Organization for Animal Health—With a grant of $565,000, the FDA is aiding the World Organization for Animal Health in its effort to strengthen agencies that regulate veterinary medical products.
Through its work with multilateral organizations and the FDA's own international offices, the agency is supporting efforts to strengthen regulatory agencies in developing nations and create internationally accepted standards of safety, efficacy, and quality.

More information is available here.

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